Nice Backhand


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A few days ago, while visiting #1 son, B, I received perhaps the best backhanded compliment of my life…or was it the worst?

The Setting: The sidewalk of Colorado Avenue in sunny Santa Monica.

The Backhander: A vertically challenged, hatted man who appeared to be in his early 40’s.

The Timing: Just as we crossed paths, my steps leading westward, his eastward.

The Dialogue: Him – “You look wonderful for your age.” Me – “Thank you.”

The Aftermath: Thoughts raced through my head. Should I have thanked him? If I look so wonderful, why did he feel the need to qualify it with, for my age? Just how old does he think I am, anyway? For all I know, he thinks I’m 70 but don’t look a day over 64. But then again, maybe he thinks I’m 50 and don’t look a day over 44. (A girl can dream, can’t she?)

So, after stewing if over for a block or two, this silver-lining girl decided to take the compliment as such and run with it. After all, in the actual moment of delivery, my spirit was lifted and my stature grew by at least a quarter-inch. Based on the pleasant manner in which he conveyed the message, I believe that was his intent.

Regardless, backhand…forehand…as long as it’s on the line, it’s good. Well played, sir, well played.

As with tennis, a compliment that’s on the line is still good.

Habits: Bad, Hard to Break; Good, Easy to Forsake


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We all know the truth in bad versus good habits. The former is hard to break, the latter is hard to keep. Or, perhaps not so much as we think.

I’ve been doing some reflecting today on this very topic and if I am one thing, I am an optimist…a silver lining gal.  For example: “Well, shucks, taking that wrong turn probably saved me from being in a car accident a half mile down the road.” And, “If my son had remembered last night to tell me he needed poster board for school today, I wouldn’t have heard one of my favorite songs playing over the piped in music at the supermarket at 7:30am this morning.” You get the idea. But, I digress.

I think we need to readjust our thinking. Maybe the only reason we all think that bad habits have such power over us is because we put too much focus on them and not enough focus on the good. I guarantee, if you think about it for half a second, you have at least a handful of good habits. The same is true of bad habits that you don’t possess. I’m fairly certain that most everyone brushes their teeth at least once a day, probably twice. Good. I’m also fairly certain that most of us don’t smack people upside the head when they say stupid things that make us want to smack them upside the head. If you do, then that would be bad.

Here are some of my good habits: brush my teeth at least twice a day, floss once a day; eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables; say thank you to deserving people in generous abundance; share compliments often; smile frequently; never forget to tell my loved ones that I love them; give thanks for the good parts of my day each night between closing my eyes and falling asleep; hugs all around, as often as possible; hold doors for people without giving it a second thought; always buy lemonade from a child’s lemonade stand; seize every opportunity to make someone laugh; send snail mail birthday cards; call my mom on a regular basis, not because I feel like I should, but because I want to; drink a lot of water; make my bed every morning.

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones that have popped into my head right now.

Here are some bad habits that I don’t have: smoking; drinking too much alcohol or taking drugs; being rude to people; taking my bad mood out on others; leaving my dirty dishes for someone else to clean; binge eating; being close minded/refusing to listen to a different opinion; not wanting to learn new things; refuse to adapt to changes; shopaholic; bite my fingernails; addiction to reality t.v. programs; glued to the computer all day long; not enough physical activity; rolling my eyes; saying, “talk to the hand”; giving a person the death stare when I am in a hurry and they are moving slower than molasses; saying negative things in a stage whisper to my companion about a nearby person that I am too afraid to confront directly, but want them to overhear my negative remarks about them; standing too close to people, infringing on their personal space; not picking up after my pet.

Again, there are more bad habits I don’t possess, but these are some that come to mind at this time.

Sure, like everyone, I have bad habits…they are no business of yours, so don’t expect me to spill my guts…and there are many good habits that I would like to adopt. My hope is, if we can focus on what’s right instead of what’s wrong, we can all feel better about ourselves. After all, when we feel better about ourselves, we set ourselves up for success, possibly making it easier for us to pick up more good habits.

What are some of your good habits, or a lack of bad habits? You know you have them. Don’t be shy, be proud.


Me and My


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It’s been rainy and gloomy here on my little island (the one I share with 1.626 million other people…not including commuters and tourists) for the past few days. It’s due to a recent Nor’easter, a weather system that New England children love most when it hits during the winter months and on a school day.

Living without sunshine for most of the week was my inspiration for this little poem.

Me and My

It follows me in morning hours,

I follow it late day,

Unless, of course, I turn around

To walk the other way.

My shadow knows which way I go,

I think it’s here to stay,

Unless, perhaps, the day should be

Cloudy, dark and gray.

Tyna S. Cline ©October 22, 2014

When It Feels Like Home


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(Please note, if you are new to this blog, you may want to read this blog post first, for better understanding.)

Over the years, MOTH and I have traveled quite a bit together, generally within the U.S. We’ve enjoyed most of the places we’ve visited, many so much so that we welcome repeat visits. There is one place in particular that we share a mutual love of, and have made many trips there over the years. That place is Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina.

We go there to visit dear friends, the sort that are comfortable to be with whether you saw them last week or ten years prior, whether talking excitedly over one another or sitting quietly, each in our own thoughts. MOTH and I know that during our visits to Sullivan’s Island, we can always count not only on good company, but beautiful and peaceful surroundings.

During our trips to the island, we walk the beach in the mornings, enjoy breakfast on the deck, lounge by the pool, nap in the hammock, take a golf cart cruise around the island in the early evening. We dine out at one of the island’s restaurants or drive into Charleston, leaving at least one night to fire up the grill. No two visits are exactly alike…there has been golf, there have been plantation visits and historical tours, there has been shopping…but we can always count on the relaxing and the laughing.

The last few times we’ve been there, MOTH and I have talked about the fact that, it’s not just our friends and the island that makes the trip so special, but the house itself. There’s something about it that speaks to us, makes us feel like we belong there, as if it were our home in another lifetime or another dimension.

We were there again a couple of weeks ago. On our first morning, as we prepared for our early morning beach walk, we began to speak again of the house and how much we loved everything about it…it’s lay out and design, the use of the square footage, the outdoor living space. All of it…we love all of it. What’s more, the house on Middle Street sits on a wonderful corner lot.

To get to the beach, we walk a handful of blocks, straight down the road to the side of the house. Once we reach the beach, we remove our shoes and leave them at the post marked with the name of the street from which we just walked…the beach’s equivalent of a street sign. Then, MOTH and I head in the direction of the lighthouse, walking close to the edge, assuring that the Atlantic nurtures our souls in all ways possible. I collect seashells along the way, we pet wet dogs and laugh at their antics, nod hello to and exchange smiles with strangers, comment on the changing shoreline, and simply enjoy feeling the wet sand between our toes.

Once we’re close to reaching the lighthouse, we change our direction and head back the way we came. The return walk is more of the same, only this time, the morning sun is in our faces instead of on our backs. Eventually, we veer away from the water toward our marker and as we approach, I glance up at the sign. I can hardly believe my eyes…and yet, the only thing that truly surprises me is that I’ve never noticed it before now.

I stop short at what I see.


Our shoes, parked in a delightful and unsurprising spot.

“Station 29,” I say out loud, as if to confirm, and then I turn to MOTH.

He gives me a knowing smile and says, “I guess wherever we end up retiring, it’ll have to involve the number 29.”

“Yes,” I say. “Definitely.”


More Animal Love


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More proof: they really do like me!

Not just mammals…even turtles are flocking toward me at breakneck speed, at least where turtles are concerned. I don’t think it’s my imagination…it’s as if Paul Revere himself were spreading the news of my vegan ways.


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